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The Conjuring of a Woman at the House of Robert Houdin (1896)

Escamotage d'une dame au théâtre Robert Houdin (original title)
| Short
A woman disappears on stage.

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An elegantly dressed man enters through a stage door onto a set with decorated back screen, a chair and small table. He brings a well-dressed women through the door, spreads a newspaper on the floor, and places the chair on it. She sits and fans herself; he covers her with a diaphanous cloth. She disappears; he tries to conjure her back with incomplete results. Can he go beyond the bare bones of a conjuring trick and succeed in the complete reconstitution of a the lady? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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The Conjuring of a Woman at the House of Robert Houdin  »

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Films Are a Magic Show
2 December 2013 | by (Onomichi, 1953) – See all my reviews

Méliès' "Escamotage d'une dame au théâtre Robert Houdin" (1896) or "The Vanishing Lady" is an early example of trick cinematography, utilizing his renowned and often-used technique of stopping the camera mid-scene and altering the mise en scène. As such, it's highly entertaining, although if you delve deeper into Méliès' films you'll soon become very familiar with this technique and its possible variations.

I hope you read the IMDb comment "Magic and Presentation" (January 27th, 2008) by Cineanalyst, where the history behind the French title is well explained. Knowing the historical background isn't mere trivia here but might actually help you appreciate the film more.

Films are a magic show, and it's good to revisit these older films that explicitly remind us lest we forget.


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